History of Vehicle Development

Clean Slate

The Riversimple story begins long before the initial conception of Riversimple. It’s the late 1990’s and Riversimples founder, Hugo Spowers MBE, leaves his career in motorsport due to concerns about the environmental impact of racing. Having previously run a racing team and classic car restoration business Hugo founded OScar Automotive in 2000, a business dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of personal transport.

2004: Shell EcoMarathon contender for BOC

2004 ~ Shell Eco Marathon

In 2004 Hugo was involved in the development of the BOC Shell Eco Marathon car, a car designed to achieve over 10,795 Mpg. The project was a collaboration between BOC, siGEN, Shetland Composites and OScar Automotive. It used a 25 watt hydrogen fuel cell and weighed just 40kg thanks to its composite and aluminium body. The car was so efficient that it could potentially travel around the entire world on the equivalent of just 2 gallons of fuel.

2005-2008 ~ Morgan LifeCar

The LIFECar was designed to be an R&D project.  Part-funded by the Technology Programme (now Innovate UK), this model ran in a test cell and proved beyond doubt that the technical proposition was viable. The  LIFEcar was designed to be a sports car that was environmentally responsible, whilst delivering good performance. Research and development involved, the Morgan Motor Company, QinetiQ, Cranfield University and the University of Oxford, of both of which Hugo is an alumnus.

OScar Automotive becomes Riversimple in 2007.

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2009-2012 ~ Riversimple Hyrban (Technology Demonstrator)

The Riversimple Hyrban was a lab demonstrator designed to prove that a 6kW powertrain could produce the performance required for urban use and demonstrate the Network Electric Platform in a running vehicle. It was capable of 0-50mph in 8 secs and 50mph cruise. It used supercapacitors for acceleration and recovering braking energy and a fuel cell to charge and cruise. It paved the way for the architecture subsequent Riversimple vehicles have been built upon. The Science Museum has one in its permanent collection.

2013-2016: Rasa Alpha

The Rasa was a step change in development of the Riversimple vehicle.  It was robust as well as efficient with a focus on safety, practicality and ease of use rather than as a powertrain demo.  It was designed for EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) and using methodical design processes and standards (ISO26262). The engineering prototype was on the roads in January 2016. It was the first generation of Rasa, utilising an 8KW fuel cell and supercapacitors to sprint from 0-60 mph in just over 9 seconds.

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2019 - Present ~ Riversimple Rasa Beta

The Rasa Beta was unveiled in 2019 ahead of our Abergavenny public trials that started in 2020. Refinements to the engineering prototype were incorporated into every aspect of the Beta cars, including safety-critical software, component packaging, air intake and energy management systems. The Beta cars also used a slightly larger 12kw fuel cell in addition to a bigger set of supercapacitors. Two Beta cars have been part of the Milford Haven Energy Kingdom (MH:EK) project in partnership with Innovate UK and Pembrokeshire County Council. Our fleet has covered thousands of miles and provides the data needed to develop Riversimple production vehicles.

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